Exodus 1:11, The Conquest of Canaan (part I of III)

Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses.

//You may have heard that archaeological evidence contradicts the story in the book of Joshua about how Israel conquered the promised land. You may have seen me write about that right here on this blog. The most well-known contradiction is that the walls of Jericho seem to have been leveled hundreds of years before the famous battle of Jericho in the Bible could have occurred. So what’s the scoop? Let me give you the facts, and you can decide for yourself whether or not Joshua really obliterated the Canaanites as told in the Bible.

The story of Israel’s history begins with them growing into a nation as slaves in Egypt. So let’s start with dating a possible exodus out of Egypt. 1 Kings 6:1 states that the temple in Jerusalem was built 480 years after Israel escaped from Egypt, which would put the date of the exodus around 1450 BCE. However, archaeologists and Egyptologists consider this very unlikely. Exodus 1:11 tells how the Israelites, as slaves in Egypt, constructed the city of Ramesses; but that is an unlikely name for an early city, as no pharaoh by that name ruled until 1295. Thus most Bible scholars date the exodus to the latter part of the Bronze age, in the late 13th century. This date best fits the archaeological evidence of settlements in the land of Canaan, as well.

Exodus 1:8 tells of a new ruler over Egypt who “did not know Joseph.” Exodus does not identify who this king is, but he is usually thought to be Ramesses II (Ramesses the Great), who ruled from 1279-1212 BC. Like his father, Ramesses I, he conducted large-scale construction projects, such would require enormous slave labor, like that described in Exodus chapter 1. If the Biblical story of persecution and escape from Egypt is true, this dating is surely the best fit.

As we continue this topic tomorrow, then, we’ll assume a 13th century date for the exodus and entry into the land of Canaan.

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